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tv   School Choice  CSPAN  February 14, 2015 10:00am-10:51am EST

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and a 2012 presidential candidate. thank you so much for joining us to be sure to join us tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. and have a great valentine's day. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] ♪ ♪ >> here's a look at what's coming up today on c-span. next, and education for posted by tim scott. then, a hearing on vaccine preventable disease. later, a debate on the keystone xl pipeline. we will show you today on the measure before the final blow occurred.
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collects keep track of the republican-led congress. follow the new members. new congress, best access on c-span. >> south carolina senator j tim scott recently hosted forum on education on capitol hill. senator scott was part of a discussion that included louisiana governor and washington state representatives. this is 50 minutes. >> i'm certainly very excited about the issue of school choice. i look around the audience and see so many fantastic young folks in the audience. i will tell you that today is about you. the truth of the matter is that
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all the things you will discuss today will be about making sure that the future is right for you. i'm a big believer that if we are to succeed as a nation, it will happen because we empower the next generation. i believe that schools choice provides is an avenue so that each and every student has an amazing future because you have the access to a quality education. i'm a southern boy from south carolina. when we say something is, we like to hear, "amen." so, if you hear something that sounds good to you you you say -- >> amen. >> and if you hear something they don't quite understand, that is a good time to shout.
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i bought with myself a constituency because they know how it works. i have to get you warmed up in here. anyhow, i will go back to my opening remarks. i will tell you that while i'm incredibly excited about school choice and the opportunity here from some amazing catalysts. congresswoman cathy mcmorris rodgers. and everyone in the country should know one of the leading voices in school choice, the governor of louisiana, bobby jindal. i'm also reminded of some challenging circumstances. cathy mcmorris rodgers will have to leave a little early this morning to attend the funeral of alan nunnelee. a congressman elected from mississippi with me when i was first elected to congress. if you do not mind, we will have
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a malaise silence for the nunnelee family. thank you. this conference is brought to you today not by senator to scott. -- tim scott. truly from a concerted effort from many people in this room. from my staff. i want to give a shout out to lindsay simmons. [applause] lindsay is my laa for education issues. she has worked tirelessly to make sure that today is a successful event. i would love to want to get acknowledge lindsay. you see a lot of my staff around here. they have put a lot of time into today to make sure it is as successful as possible.
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i also want to thank my partners. the friedman foundation for educational choice. and the american federation for children. we will have educators like steve barry from capital preparatory schools to grassroot energizers like rick of aei. here's what i want you to walk away with -- and understanding that we understand that we believe that child's education should not be determined. the quality of your education should not be determined by your zip code. every child, in every facet of this nation, has the potential
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to be a lifelong learner. and to be a child of excellence. we want to make sure that we focus our attention on making sure that everything will student everywhere in the nation, no matter your zip code nobody at think background, ahmadi family income has the opportunity to succeed. if we do that, our future will be amazing. [applause] i like that. the brother and over here to the left understand the "amen." let me make it crystal clear. we must act now on the issue of educational choice. this is not an issue that we can just say it's a good issue.
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this is an issue that we have to fight for everything all day to make sure that our actions lead to more kids having more access to the highest quality of education this nation has ever seen. when that happens, and when that happens, all students will prosper. our nation will succeed. we cannot separate the future success of the station from your success. we have an amazing. we will go ahead and get started with the first panel. the longer i see, the less they speak. we have some amazing speakers to hear from. [applause]
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moderated by american enterprise institute. >> thank you, senator. it is a pleasure to be with you. i am rick hess from the american enterprise institute. it is a pleasure to be with you today. i want to congratulate senator scott for challenging our nation to better when it comes to our kids. i was invited to moderate this panel. as a cent. the senator said, we have some great speakers today. we have louisiana governor, bobby jindal. under his leadership, louisiana has more people, more jobs,
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higher incomes more exports and a higher gdp than ever in its history. next to him, we have centered room who -- senator groom. his work in the state senate includes chairing the transportation committee. also serving on a number of other committees include education. as a tireless advocate for education,. our fourth panelist is cathy mcmorris rodgers. an advocate for military families and families with special needs. congressman mike rogers mcmorris rodgers
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is married to brian rogers and the proud mother of three children. congress woman, let me begin with you this morning. there are a lot of ways to think about education improvement. i would love to have you talked for a moment about why school choice. >> a resonates with me because -- both as a policy maker someone who has the honor of representing the people of eastern washington here on capitol hill, but also as a mom. i have three children. one that has down syndrome. special needs. when i think about education and the impact that has on our lives, and the importance of having an equal opportunity education for everyone in this country, i do not think there is any other more important issue that we face as a country. we see about the next
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generation, how we make sure that every student, every person, reaches their full potential. it will happen is we have more opportunities, more education more choices. i've lived in myself. first of all, in my own life, i was the first in my family to graduate from college. i was also someone who was on the wrong track when i was in junior high in the public schools. my mom and dad help to start a school at that point. i'm glad they had the opportunity to do that in my community. to come together and say, we need to start a school here. it got me back on track. i'm grateful for that. also, i've known this issue as a mom. it has only reinforced my belief in the importance of these choices and having the opportunity for every child. my oldest, coal, he was born with down syndrome. you know that is not the news that anyone wants to receive, or
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dreams of receiving. but because of him, i've a better legislator and a better mom. i'm grateful, so grateful, that as a mom, i can go out there and visit schools, and figure out, i think this will be the school where coal has the best opportunity to reach its full potential. i've happy to say that he is in a charter school and doing exceptionally. he is in second grade and reading, learning math, contributing already in ways that were unimaginable when he was first born. [applause] >> governor jindal, i used to teach high school in baton rouge, louisiana. i'm familiar with louisiana's legacy of troubled education. on your watch, there has been some real progress made. can you talk about the key voices there and the role of
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school choices? >> thank you very much. first, i want to thank the center for having us and hosting us. i was so impressed that one of his first speech is on the floor the senate when he was first a u.s. senator was about exactly this topic. i know he has asked us to recognize everyone else in this room. i would like to ask that you give a round of applause for our host. [applause] i think he said the reason we are here better than anyone else could. just for emphasis, the circumstances of a child's birth should not determine the outcome as adult. unfortunately, that is happening too much in our country. if that had happened, i would not be here today. my father was one of nine. none of his older brothers or sisters, none of his younger brothers or sister got an education.
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the reason i know this is because i heard the story every single day growing up. i don't know if your parents are like that, saying how tough it was when they were growing up. if he did not get the education i would not be here. it is also great to be on the panel with the congresswoman. congratulations on your great success. it is also great to be here with the state senator. in louisiana, we have done several things. i'm proud we have increased the number of charter schools. nearly doubled them. i'm proud that we have done several things. new orleans is often cited as a city where 90% of kids are in charter schools. we have seen remarkable gains. we have included improved on math and reading levels. there is more work to be done, but it shows you that you do not
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have to wait a long time to make to erratic improvements. i become so frustrated when people say, wait for criminal gains. look at the boise girls in his room. they only have one chance to grow up. i would invite anyone who opposes school choice to tell them why. the sale most important thing that we did -- you can give a-s f grades allow operators to have more than one school. have a longer approval practice, have online schools, like we have done. the most important thing, it is not that complicated, you let the dollar's fall of the child and not the child follow the dollars. [applause] i'm here to tell you that
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charter schools are great but that does not mean that every child should be in a charter school. every child is different and the people who know us are the moms and dads. maybe a private school, dual enrollment programs, a catholic school, an independent school. the point is the power of parents. today we have that, but only for the wealthy. if you're wealthy, you can move to a neighborhood with great schools. if you are wealthy, you can send your kids to a private school. if you do not have resources, you're more likely to be trapped in a failing school. that is exactly the obsessive what we should be doing. education should be helping to grow our economy and create engaged, responsible citizens. you will hear later on this panel from a state senator from new orleans. a champion of our bill. it was not about politics. she is a democrat, and
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i'm a republican. there's your question, there have been dozens of laws and i proud of all them. the single most important thing that we did was to let the dollars fall of kids and empower the parents to make a choice that is best for their child instead of having a one-size-fits-all approach. i also want to thank aei and the friedman foundation. [applause] >> senator cruz. we would love to hear little bit about how you can to this issue and some of the challenges that you've had for pushing for school choice in south carolina. >> thank you. thank you senator scott for bringing us together. we live in exceptional nation. some people don't like to say that, but we do. we live in exceptional nation. we have the highest standard of
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living, the greatest quality of life that any body living on this planet. you have to ask yourself, why. we value freedom. we will die to defend freedom. we employ freedom in every aspect of our lives. we believe that you should have choices. jefferson. the jefferson memorial, i saw this morning. jefferson finds freedom as having choices. it's because of these choices that we have achieved more than any people that has ever come before us. but for some reason, we do not think that those choices should extend to parents when it comes to their child's education. it is mind-boggling. i do not get it. we see how freedom has created such wealth. such prosperity. how freedom has allowed us to become an exceptional nation, we
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need an exceptional public school system. we need exceptional private school system. we need exceptional delivery system in education. in order to have that, let's let freedom work in schools. freedom, only works every time. choice matters. choice is freedom. you will root out what does not work and then you elevate what does work. when it comes to education who loves the children more, the government, or the parents? who has the child's best interest at heart? the school board or the parent? i know more about my children and the type of education that would work for them than anybody on the school board. i want to be able to offer my children, and the children of
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south carolina, and the children of this nation choices. real choices in their education. not every child is the same. every child learns differently. when we allow choices, what we give parents choices, we give them freedom. through freedom, we have excellent. we will build upon that and maintain our explanation. >> thank you, senator. [applause] senator scott, i've heard you talk occasionally about how school ju choice became a passion of yours. with all the students of the road today, i thought would be interesting if you wanted to share that part of your biography. >> certainly. first, i know representative
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mcmorris rodgers have to leave early. >> i'm here until 10:30 a.m. >> awesome. i grew up in poverty. my mother raised us herself. she did all that she could, yet i was not doing that well. i went to four different elementary schools. as some of you know, when you live in poverty, the chances are that you have to move. when you are moving so often your changing schools. for me, down the two years were about hopping from school to school. one of the reasons, like the governor said, it is giving resources to the child and letting resources fall of the child. it is so important. if you're like me growing up in poverty, you cannot fund the right schools. allowing the resources to go with the kid is very important. because of that challenging
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beginning, when i was a freshman in high school, i was flunking out. i was not doing very well. i failed world geography. actually, i felt high school as a freshman. i failed world geography. i think it may be the only united states senator who failed civics. it is a study of politics. then, i arrived in the senate and i thought, maybe i'm not the only one who failed. [applause] i might not be by myself after all. i also failed spanish and english. [laughter] i know it's tough. you probably can't believe why am on the panel. you failed spanish and english. they don't call you bilingual.
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you can speak any language. that experience growing up help to instruct me and informed me about the power of education. that is truly the power of freedom. as a legislator, i am dedicated to -- i have dedicated the vast majority of my opportunity agenda to setting captives free. to making sure that every child everywhere has the chance to succeed. for me, it was easy to come to the conclusion that without choices, without options are flexibility, parents like mine would not be able to get their kids the education necessary for your success. for your achievement. more importantly, for your significance. this issue of school choice is part of my being.
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[applause] >> congresswoman. right now congresses wrestling with the reauthorization of no child left behind. back in 2001, a government that biggest amount of dollars to k-12 education. most k-12 education is driven by states and communities. there is this real question as to how much of the federal government should be involved. what role if any should the government bie playing as far as promoting school choice. or is it really a stand localization? >> i'm someone who thinks the best decisions on education will, the local level. it is the school board, parents. that is where those decisions will come. yes, authorization of the
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elementary acts, at one time called no child left behind, is up for reauthorization. it is overdue. this new congress thinks that moving forward on some education priorities is to be at the top of the list for congress. it will be done in a way that is empowering local communities to make decisions. as you mentioned, there is a limited role for the federal government. there are some low income dollars that the federal government has met we prioritize dissent to the state. within our reauthorization, we want those dollars to follow the student. we give the state the option to allow those dollars to follow the student. we do encourage an expansion of charter schools. what the federal government has done so far is say we want more charter schools in america, but this time, it is giving more tools to allow those charter
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schools be improved. to allow for -- really focusing on those charter schools that proven themselves to be successful. lifting them up as models. also allowing for those who want a weighted lottery to do so. to focus on poverty issues, or those with disabilities. allow more options there. we also want to hold charter schools accountable and ensure that those not performing well are held accountable. those are some things. it is really empowering local communities and local school boards to make those decisions. the only other issue that i might put on the table is i'm really excited about encouraging schools to use more blended learning. i just inched use some legislation with senator rubio and senator hatch focus on promoting this blended learning.
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i think it is this next generation of really individualized education so that we know, in real-time, how each student is doing, day by day. schools that i visited, i visited one here in the, a tough neighborhood, the school last year embraced blended learning. the teachers were really engage and inspired about coming to work every day. students were anxious to learn. you could look, the principal could look on her wall every day , and know how every student in that school was doing. in a short amount time, the school thought to amend its growth. it comes down to i empowering local school boards. and letting them decide what is best for the kids in the community so that they can reach a full potential. [applause]
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>> congresswoman, i would love to have you speak a bit further on this point. you talk about charter accountability. charter schools have to get permission, and part of the deal is that they can be shut down if they are not serving children well. particularly, as a mom of a child of special needs recent research has found that parents and the d.c. scholarship program seemed to not put a high premium on test scores. they look at anothe a number of other factors. i'm curious, in your own mind, and you think about good charter school accountability and how we make sure the schools are serving kids well, how much of that should be a question of student achievement on reading and math assessments, and how much needs to be about something else? >> that is a great question. i think we're looking at how
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parents and school boards make sure that they have the information so that they can make the best decision possible. sometimes, transparency as to what is really happening in the school can be difficult to get. i think it goes beyond a test score itself. that's one measurement. there are other issues that i think need to be taken into consideration as we make those decisions. ultimately, it is about transparency. so that parents can be involved in making the decision. and so that the administration of that school will know what is really going on. if the children are no getting the education that they need. quite senator, think about on what kathy said there, one of the things on the d.c. opportunity scholarship program did was that the peripheral satisfaction was over 90%. when you think about why that is part of it is due to the
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environment that the children are in. a culture conducive to learning and achievement. also it encourages each child to maximize their own potential. when you factor in on top of the actual academic progress being made by students, i think part of the foundation for the academic achievement seems to be a culture that is conducive to succeeding, an environment that seems to be best for the child. the parent seems to be very excited about it. about a place where the child gets quality education and where the child is safe. the environment is solid. the teachers are loving and investmeed. i think that is why there are other characteristics of a successful program that go beyond simple academic achievements. >> i'm curious as to how you
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take away the ability from parents to just make decisions based on academic scores. >> you talk about charter schools. they have a flexibility when compared to regular schools. they have to earn there is. parents will not enroll this to it in those charter schools. charter schools, if they failed to perform your after year, they are shut down. i think that is important. there is accountability there. that is not happen nearly as often with public schools. when it comes to transparency and parental information, i think kathy was right. you have to provide information to parents. they make decisions paste on a number of factors. i've met with mom in new orleans who have told me that this is the first time that there child
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has gone to a school where they are wearing a uniform. or, this is the first time that i think my child is safe. i had one time that told me that this was the first time her child brought home homework. there are number of reasons in fact is that parents use and taking a school. i would like to talk to you quickly about this issue of tests. the reality is why we have test was a rifle response to the fact that many schools, especially those serving disadvantage low-income minority students, where dr. a good job. i think that pendulum's long too far to the other way where we have become so assessed with tests. it feels sick all you are doing is testing a not really learning. we have crowded ourt the arts and music.
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i think there are two things we need to do a test. we need to benchmark the test so that there are more choices. many great assessments. why not have a benchmark. we have done this before where people can take a different test and you can compare how people are doing. secondly, i think we need to be more aggressive and giving schools waivers. when a school has done a good job, they can come back and say can we waive these. there are other ways that we can measure the children, like ap tests. we should not have to be held to the same micromanagement and all these areas. you can have accountability. finally, the federal government's role. i'm so proud of these senator. he has only great pieces of of education. he has one on choice that tried to get military families more choice. something we call backpack funding which really does follow
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the students. sometimes, legislators here will vote for funding for kids with special needs. they get extra dollars. the outcome those dollars don't ask a go towards educating children. so often we fund our schools based on seniority and staffing. as they debate no child left behind, i hope they will block a lot of the funding. i hope they will reduce the role of the department of education. the department of education should be involved in civil rights, transparency, and deregulation. that's about it. everything else should be done at the state and local level quite frankly. [applause] i won't sell whole new topic, i think that needs and you have to get rid of common core. >> senator grooms. one of the conversations that we talk about a lot when it comes to school choice is whether school choice is really for
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those families who are trapped in schools that are not working for those children, or whether school choice is a mechanism for helping all families educate their children better. >> is useful to note that 70% of families tend to give their schools and a or b. as you have worked on this, it is school choice of a more universal? >> school choices for everyone. if my child was at what many would consider a great pilot school, he is not learning, it is not helping him. if the family is trapped at a school, and they want to go somewhere else, and they can and they know it is not working then i hear from the school district, you have to give us
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more money. that's the problem. the 12 and a half thousand dollars -- 12 point $5,000, we need more. sat scores are bad. mama knows that a child is not learning to read, and they are still stuck there. if we allow freedom to work, if we get that child in aurora area, who basically has no choice, they are at a school that is failing. mama knows of the child is not getting opportunities that she would want her children to have. we give that child an opportunity, he goes somewhere else, he magi 50 miles to the nearest town to a better public school. even within the public school system. if we allow choice. some choices better than no choice. the greater the choices, the greater for the freedom, the better quality of education.
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when you give choices, you allow freedom to work in the schools are losing students. they have to do some a little bit different to retain those students. the poor performing schools, they do better than the good schools. they do even better. what we are competing for dollars, competing for the backpack funding, you will do is necessary to grow your school and to create educational choices and opportunity. school choices for everyone. not just for those who have bad schools. if your school's not working, you need another choice. >> senator, how do you respond to those who say, i understand what you're saying about freedom, but it sounds like this is an attack on other school district. it sounds like you're trying to dismantle something that is important to america.
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>> i introduced some of the first school choice legislation in 1988. i ventured his bill after bill after bill. i hear, even from some of my good friends. what are you try to do? are you trying to destroy public education? what a horrible statement. no one wants to try to destroy public education. we just want to make sure that as these are available for every child. freedom works. every good mental change that we have made in our state, whether was creating legislation to allow for charter schools, your destroy public education. we created charter schools and it worked. we were not corre creating them fast enough.
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we went in and created some choices in the public sphere. it works. then, we went in i made it to where you could have opportunity scholarships for special needs children. our first road that involve the private sector. i don't think we have to many naysayers now. every time we have been able to expand choices interstate, we have proven that it works. it benefits both for public schools, and for all schools. when parents may veterans, their power to make that choice, all schools are better. they are settled with power and money, but they don't ever want to give it up. they never give it up voluntarily. it has to be a grassroots fight. freedom is worth fighting for. i think those -- thanks those who are here today.
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and those who are listening. collect senator scott, how do you respond? >> there is no doubt that education is improving. a large part of that improvement has come because of competition in the education state. let's focus of few minutes on the public school options. forget about the private school choice. frankly, if you think about the advent of magnet schools charter schools, home schools online schools, virtual schools. five of those options i named are within the public frui footprint . the reality is that there is a way to improve education that includes hello school options. indeed, the most powerful tool is choice. i say, let us not relegate that choice solely to the public footprint. i'm a lever that whatever the
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parent says works, it works for her. austin is a single mom that works to shapes, like my mom did. let's give her the peace of mind to choice choose the quality of education that she is deemed appropriate for a child. when that happens, i believe that competition will drive even better results in the local neighborhood school. when that happens, kids get a far better education. i think there -- their success of my skyrockets. >> governor, you have been successful in pushing the recovery of the school district in louisiana. you have pushed course choice which are about to hear you talk about for a few moments. you push statewide vouchers for low-income children. you have pushed charter
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schooling expansion of the state. that you talk a little bit about his options are different and a little about the practical challenges of pushing them forward. >> a couple of things. i cannot agree with both senators more. it really is about choice and freedom. for example, course choice. i think this is one of the waves of the future. not only do we want the dollars to fall the child. -- follow the child. it also involves unpacking those dollars. what does that mean? maybe you start your day at a public school. maybe you would benefit from taking an online course. or course from a local employer. see don't only get education but a skilled that helps you the workforce one day. so what we do of course work is not only does the dollar fall
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the student, but it is divisible. a public empl private employer could offer a course, and we will pay for it by the dollar the allocated for that child education. when you look at course choice charter schools, we have over 90,000 children in course choice. the point is -- people are mostly concerned about kids trapped in failing schools. it starts with low income families. it starts with failing schools. i agree with both senators there needs to be for every child in every parent. this is a fundamentally philosophical question. if you only remember one thing about this debate -- it can be confusing, with all the acronyms
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there is scope course choice, tax rebate programs, which we do. it can get confusing. it really boils down to one essential question. do you trust models? you are right, it's often moms, but moms and dads. do you trust them to make the best decision for the kids? or do you think there are bureaucrats in baton rouge washington, dc, or somewhere else, that knows the needs of those children better. this was illustrated in our debate. you ask, how do you get this done. it is contentious because the status quo does not like change. for example, we had one union leader in louisiana whose that that parent do not have a clue when it comes to making choices for their kids. educational choices for their kids. i know a group of moms that say that we make choices for our kids every day. we know the needs of our kids better than those bureaucrats. it's fine for us to speak about
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this the one group that we really need to thank for being here are the students and parents for letting us come here. what made a difference in baton rouge was one the moms showed up. educational reform is too often asymmetrical fight. the people who like the status quo, they show up. they tell their leaders that we care about this, we are watching the process, if you try to make change, we will criticize you. we had recalls against our speaker, protests. it got to be so bad that whatever you have proof -- they had protested from the capital i would tell my kids that those up rates for daddy. a group of mom showing up to the capital say, this is not political for me, it is not partisan issue for me, this is about my little girl or boy. there is no more eloquent speaker for educational reform and school choice. it is not a governor senator
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it is really the kids here and their parents. what made the difference in louisiana was we got those families involved. we got employees involved. we said, this does not change, you will not have a skilled workforce. the final thing i will say is that there are studies that show how education can improve your earning potential increase your chances of going to college. there was a study that said we could add trillions of dollars to our economy if we cut up to canada, or other countries, as far as education. there is a study out of stanford that says you could incl improve your earning power by having a great teacher. the reason we provide public education in our country, the reason is so important in the first place is because we are self-governing republic. if you want informed citizens, not only to make informed decisions, but also make decisions that help to make our
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country so exceptionally great the reason that historically this country start investing in public education was so that we could use those freedoms that our founding fathers taught us. this is about teaching the next generation. it is more than just economics. what quality of country do we want to leave to our children and grandchildren. so, the most important group of people here are the boys and girls. i know that you hate to miss a school day. take you for coming up your. they give to your parents for caring about your education. [applause] >> senator scott let's close with this question. you've tackled this issue as a legislator, at the state level in south carolina, you've said sometime now here in washington on this issue. as far as the settling
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coalitions, bringing people together to do all the things that you're talking about, i wonder if you have a couple of insights the you could share with full about what you've seen. >> the more you talk about the issue of choice, the more that people start to pay attention. one thing that we have to have happened across the country is a grassroots conversation about what is happening to our kids today. it we have a conversation, you will find that coalitions that exist will be drawn to the conversation. what i think is more powerful is that the parents are engaged at the grassroots level. you find out of those conversations the seed germinates. it starts to produce more organizations. more interests. more desire. one of the most exciting science as of reasons is the number of athletes, athletes in the starting charter school,
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entertainers are starting to come out on behalf of will choice. when you think about empty the question, what's next? you better educate whose president. -- president. who is present today. that conversation starts at the grassroots level. we have a number of partners, like aei, and others, who have done a fabulous job providing us with good data and information to encourage the conversation to go to the next level. thank you. [applause] >> if you all join me in thanking the panel. it has been atrophic start to the day. [applause] we are now going to break for a
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few minutes and reconvene at 11:00. >> ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the second panel. the first one, i must say, it was a great panel. we've heard some great stories. we will do the same here. we are honored to be here a senator scott and the american federation for children. i'm excited about the panel for three things today. one, it in features representatives from every sector of public education -- of education, public, charter private.


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